Monday, July 16, 2007

My favorite Crispers sandwich is worse than a Big Mac?

So, when I decide that I don't want to cook, yet don't intend on cheating on my efforts to eat cleanly, I usually head to Crispers. There I am, thinking that this is a good, healthy alternative to other quick order restaurants. When looking up the nutritional value of the sandwich I usually order, I found out a Big Mac appears to be a healthier option!

To those looking to cut calories, the Big Mac seems to be the better choice, but calories alone shouldn't be the sole determining factor.

Although mono- and polyunsaturated fats have nutritional value (which makes up the difference between total fat and the saturated fat/trans fat content listed), the amount of such fats in that one turkey sandwich may be in excess. Given that turkey is one of the more naturally lean meats, I would assume that a lot of the saturated fat content in the Crispers sandwich comes from the cheese. I think the 1.5 grams of trans fat in the Big Mac is trivial compared to the high total fat content of the turkey sandwich.

The carb content of the turkey sandwich is unprecedented, with most of the carbs in the turkey sandwich coming from sugar, though it does have a higher amount of dietary fiber than the Big Mac. The bread on both sandwiches (or at least on the Big Mac) is from enriched wheat flour, so that's more bad news. The turkey sandwich does beat the Big Mac in the protein category. But is protein content alone enough to propel the turkey sandwich as a winner?

Yes, it is true that if you take away the high-quality, yet fatty cheese and honey mustard on the turkey sandwich, you will cut a lot of the fat. But, if I do that, what is the point of going out to a restaurant? If I want a bland sandwich, I can make that at home for about $1.00 (if that), which is about $6.50 less than I would spend on the sandwich and chips at Crispers or Panera Bread.

So, it looks like the Big Mac is healthier than the Crispers Smoke Turkey Delight. Despite that argument, I will choose the turkey sandwich over the Big Mac, because at least I don't feel unhealthy after eating it as I would after eating a Big Mac. However, I cannot look at this sandwich (and possibly any restaurant outings) as a healthy alternative to just making my own meal at home. For me, restaurant food choices become a battle of choosing the lesser evil.

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